Dolar Popat, Baron Popat (born 14 June 1953 in Uganda) is a British Asian businessman and politician. He was a Government Whip and Lord-in-Waiting in the House of Lords from January 2013 to May 2015. In July 2010 he became a member of the House of Lords as a Life Peer and was the first Gujarati to represent the Conservative Party at Parliament. He emigrated to Britain in 1971 during the expulsion of Asians from Uganda.
Popat was born on 14 June 1953 at Busolwe and was brought up in Tororo, Uganda. He arrived in the UK in 1971 at the age of 17, a year before the expulsion of many Indians from Uganda, with only £10 in his pocket. Popat sponsored himself through night school at Kilburn Polytechnic by taking on jobs including working as a dishwasher, waiter, and grill chef at a Wimpy Bar on Kilburn High Street. He qualified as an Affiliate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in 1977.
He married Sandhya (now The Lady Popat) on 19 July 1980. Lord and Lady Popat have three sons.
After completing his studies, Lord Popat held a number of positions, including trainee accountant at Rockware Glass and UDT Finance (Barclays).
Lord Popat diversified into the healthcare sector in the late 1980s and the hospitality sector in the late 1990s, and secured a master franchise with the Intercontinental Hotel Group for Express by Holiday Inn in the UK.
Lord Popat is an advocate of community cohesion and the importance of reconciling and uniting different cultures under the UK’s central democratic process.
Popat has been an active supporter of the Conservative Party since 1980, serving two Conservative Prime Ministers – Margaret Thatcher and John Major. During that time he acted as an adviser to help engagement with the British Indian community.
Lord Popat has advocated that the Conservative Party is a union where enterprise, hard work and social responsibility are respected and encouraged, and that these are values which the British Indian community naturally share. He has worked to bridge the gap between the Conservative Party and the British Indian community and believes that the Party and the community will mutually benefit from a deeper and sustained engagement and understanding.
Lord Popat’s Party appointments include: • Secretary to the Anglo Asian Conservative Association • Chairman of the One Nation Forum, Barnet branch • Vice Chairman – subsequently Chairman – of the Strangers Gallery (a Parliamentary Private Club for the business community in Harrow) • Speaker on behalf of the Conservative Party on the "Next Step" Diversity and Leadership in Britain in the 21st Century • Member of the Conservative Ethnic Diversity Council • Chairman of the Stanmore Park Ward • President of Harrow East Conservative Association • Chairman of Conservative Friends of India.
In 2009 Lord Popat was honoured with an award at the Asian Political and Public Life Awards at the House of Commons by the Conservative Party’s then Chairman, Eric Pickles MP, for promoting the Conservative Party in the community.
In May, 2010 it was announced that he would be ennobled on the recommendation of David Cameron, for his services to small and medium-sized businesses and to the wider community. He was created a life peer on 10 July 2010 taking the title Baron Popat, of Harrow in the London Borough of Harrow since it was there that his parents lived upon arriving in the UK. On 31 March 2011 he made his maiden speech in the Upper House, contributing to a debate about economic growth.
He was the first Chairman of the Conservative Friends of India, an organisation launched by the Prime Minister David Cameron in April 2012. Lord Popat stood down as Chairman for Conservative Friends of India in January 2013, after his appointment as a Government Whip and Lord-in-Waiting.
He helped to establish a Select Committee – Chaired by Lord Cope of Berkeley - examining ways in which the Government can help SMEs to export, and on 6 December he held his first debate in the House of Lords, marking the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the Ugandan Asians.
Lord Popat was appointed a Government Whip and Minister of the Crown in January 2013, replacing Viscount Younger of Leckie. Lord Popat was also appointed a Lord-in-Waiting and made the Government Spokesperson in the House of Lords for the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation and the Department for Transport until May 2015.
In February 2013, Lord Popat accompanied the Prime Minister, David Cameron on the British trade delegation to India.
Lord Popat has also been involved with a number of community organisations. He is a founding Director of St Luke’s Hospice, Harrow.
Lord Popat founded and funds a registered charity, the Lord Dolar Popat Foundation, which makes contributions to medical and educational institutions.
Lord Popat is also a lifelong supporter of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
- "Lord Popat". BBC Democracy. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- "House of Lords, Official Website - Lord Popat". Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Stanmore millionaire to become first Gujarati Tory life peer
- The London Gazette: . 16 July 2010.